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Bi women respected less when accessing health care; gay men see necessity of providers to understand, share their culture

Gay men were more likely to consider it important for providers to understand or share their culture and to have providers who ask for their opinions or beliefs about care. Meanwhile, bisexual- and something else-identified women were less likely to report being treated with respect and satisfaction with care.

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Members of LGBTQIA people experience accessing health care services differently from heterosexual people; and even among the LGBTQIA community’s members, these differences are more defined.

This is according to a study – “Disparities in Experience with Culturally Competent Care and Satisfaction with Care by Sexual Orientation” by Ning Hsieh and Inna Mirzoyan – that was published in LGBT Health.

According to Hsieh and Mirzoyan, prior studies have identified health care providers’ lack of cultural competency as a major barrier to care among sexual minority individuals. However, little is known about disparities in experience with culturally competent care by sexual orientation at the population level; and this led to them assessing experiences with culturally competent care and satisfaction with care across sexual orientation groups.

The researchers analyzed data from the 2017 National Health Interview Survey in the US; it involved 21,620 people. They then compared six aspects of health care experiences across sexual orientation groups. These were: preferences for and frequencies of seeing health care providers who understand or share their culture; perceived experiences of being treated with respect by providers and providers asking about their beliefs and opinions; access to easily understood health information from providers; and satisfaction with received care.

They found that relative to heterosexual men, gay men were more likely to consider it important for providers to understand or share their culture and to have providers who ask for their opinions or beliefs about care.

Relative to heterosexual women, bisexual- and something else-identified women were less likely to report being treated with respect and satisfaction with care.

No statistical differences in health care experiences were found between other sexual minority groups and their heterosexual counterparts.

The researchers recommended “access to culturally competent care and satisfaction with care varied by sexual orientation and gender.” Particularly, “clinical practices should address the unique health care barriers faced by bisexual- and something else-identified women.”

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